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Gaughan gone from Lansford council

  • FILE PHOTO Robert Gaughan
    FILE PHOTO Robert Gaughan
Published November 11. 2010 05:00PM

Lansford borough council President Robert Gaughan resigned his post as of Monday.

Council accepted his resignation at a public meeting Wednesday, with Councilman Lenny Kovach casting the opposing vote, and moving that council send Gaughan a letter of thanks.

Gaughan, in his brief letter to council, did not say why he quit.

"It was time to go," Gaughan said when contacted early Thursday.

Gaughan, a Republican, was appointed in 2003 to replace the late Paul Tichy. Council will now seek someone to take his place on the board. Applications must be received at the borough office at 26 E. Patterson St., Lansford, PA 18232, by Dec. 6.

Council accepted other resignations on Wednesday, that of code enforcement clerk Brandylee Veanus and parking enforcement officer Terrie Farenkopf.

In other matters Wednesday, council heard from Councilman Tommy Vadyak, who spoke during the public opinion portion of the meeting about Lansford-Coaldale Joint Water Authority salaries and benefits, which he contends are illegal. Vadyak said the total annual salaries, after taxes, came to $77,548.80. Adding in perquisites like pensions and medical benefits, he said, the tally comes to more than $120,000 a year.

The officers are appointed by the borough councils, two from Coaldale and three from Lansford. Vadyak said boroughs set compensation at $25 a month or $300 a year.

"It has not been changed," he said. "They changed it themselves."

He urged council to "take them to court."

Vadyak said the Municipal Authorities Act does not entitle them to have pensions or medical benefits. He said the members do not work full-time for the water authority. In an interview last year, then-water authority board chairman Toby Krajcirik said the officers' salaries were increased in 2006 after they began assuming more responsibilities in the wake of the arrest of a longtime employee who admitted embezzling about $80,000 over five years. The employee's $38,000 a year job was eliminated and the wages used to offset some of the officers' pay increases.

Council did not respond to Vadyak's statement. Vadyak has for years railed against the reimbursements. He said he expected the new council to take action, but "obviously, nothing's been done."

After he spoke, resident William "Jiggs" Watkins stepped up to the microphone to support Vadyak's argument.

"They are robbing us blind," he said.

Also on Wednesday, Councilman Andrew Snyder fired back at council members who were upset with his repeated absence at meetings, saying they knew when he was appointed that he worked rotating shifts and that he has lately been working extended hours. Snyder said he is available by cell phone and e-mail. Council last month agreed to send Snyder a letter addressing his absences.

Council also hired Leztek Systems of Jim Thorpe to manage its IT and website; awarded the job of building a new sidewalk at the police station to Bruce George Paving & Excavating for $28,000; awarded the job of demolishing a deteriorated building at 614 E. Patterson St. to Peter J. Radocha for $25,602 and 112 E. Patterson St. to Tim Brennan for $15,998. The 112 E. Patterson project will be done only if funds are available.

Council also agreed to purchase a new oil burner from Bognet for $15,860.

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